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Bishop shot in robbery speaks out

September 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Roman Catholic bishop is speaking out for the first time after being shot during an apparent robbery. Five men are in custody, charged with attempted murder. The shooting happened outside a church in the Riverside County community of Home Gardens."I don't hate them. I hate what they did, I hate what they left, but I don't hate them," said Bishop Antonio Garduno.

Bishop Antonio Garduno, 51, is pastor of Our Lady of Tepeyac Church. Garduno was shot by a group of men robbing the Home Gardens church earlier this month. Garduno, a retired Air Force officer, said he grabbed one of the men and took away a handgun.

"He dropped everything they were going to take and they took off and I thought that was the end," said Garduno. "But as soon as they took off and I let go of the last person, I felt the pain."

Garduno called 911. He was taken to Riverside Community Hospital and treated for shotgun-pellet and bullet wounds.

"I haven't lost my faith, I haven't lost my faith in god, I believe I was being protected throughout the whole time," said Garduno. "I'm surprised I'm here. I'm surprised I'm still standing and talking to you. It's a great witness."

Garduno will conduct services this Sunday at his church. There's a wedding on Saturday.

The five accused suspects will be back in court on October 14. Their bail was set at $1 million.

Was the pastor's faith in mankind tested?

"It wasn't tested," said Garduno. "I guess if we're dwindled pretty low for a while, but as soon as I was in the hands of the police and the ambulance and the hospital staff, then it came right back."

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